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Urdu Academy’s Grand North America
Mushaera draws large crowd
Pakistan Link coverage   Urdu Link    Urdu News coverage

Report By Abdus Sattar Ghazali   [Pictures by Naheed Zaheer]Urdu Academy Grand Mushaera 2012-Podium-F

The Urdu Academy of North America held its second successful North America Mushaera on April 1, 2012. The Grand Mushaera was chaired by well-known poet Sarfraz Abd, who flew from Texas to attend the event. Poet Muqsit Nadeem from New York was the chief guest while poet Ahmad Shawar was the Master of Ceremony of the Grand Mushaera held at the ornate banquet hall of the Chandni Restaurant in Fremont/Newark, California.

Incidentally, the Grand Mushaera coincided with the US National Poetry Month launched by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 which is now held every April. During the month-long celebrations the publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry which is described by William Hazlitt as the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself.

The importance of poetry is also best stressed by John Keating in the movie Dead Poet's Society: ”We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

Reverting to the Grand Mushaera event that was divided into two sessions. The first session was dedicated to the inauguration of Muqsit Nadeem’s new diwan “Maa Ba’ad.”

Prof. Abdul Jabbar of the City College of San Francisco wrote an exhaustive paper in English on the poetry of Muqsit Nadeem who is the author of three diwans. Since Prof. Jabbar was abroad, his paper was translated in Urdu and read by Tashie Zaheer, President of the Urdu Academy of North America.

In his paper, Prof. Abdul Jabbar said sometime we can gain an insight into the mind of a poet and understand his manifesto from the dedications of his work and “Muqsit Nadeem has made our task quite easy by dedicating all three volumes of his poems with meticulous care.”Ma'Baad-Title

His first volume -- "Khuda bhi roya" -- is dedicated to "the poorest person in the world."

His second book of poems -- "Gudaz" -- is dedicated to "that crumb of barley bread that enabled us to distinguish between momin and amir-ul-momineen.

With his third volume of poems -- "Maba'ad" -- Nadeem chose to honor two individuals -- the inventor of paper TSai Lun and the famous physicist and author of A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking.

These dedications make us aware of some of the concerns that are central to the poet. Nadeem's compassion for the victims of societal evils is apparent from many of his poems, and, for a wordsmith, what could be more appropriate than honoring the inventor of paper. However, the allusion to Hawking is not as self-evident. An important poem "Murshid" from the third volume sheds some light on this reference.

Besides a poet's dedication, another angle of approach to understand the evolution of his thought is the recurrent themes and the poet's variations on those themes, Prof Abdul Jabbar said adding: One such important theme is that of the necessity of self-reliance to avoid the trap of fatalism:Urdu Academy Grand Mushaera 2012-3

      soachta tha maiN jab, ye khuda ne kiya, wo khuda ne kiya
       doosroN per mujhay apne ilzam dharne ki aadat pari.

       ay meray charagar! teray dhokay nay dunya badal thi meri
      besahara hua, apne qadmoN per chalnay ki aadat pari."

Prof Abdul Jabbar quoted the poet himself about the craft of poetry. In "haraf ki taqat," an essay that introduces  his third book of poems, Nadeem says:

    "Sher kehna ya likhna apne bas ki baat nahiN, magar achha sher likhna ya kehna kisi had tak apne bas maiN hai. Ba'z auqaat lottery ke tarah har shaair se aik aadh achha sher sarzad ho jata hai. Magar aap lottery maiN niklay huay inamaat per poori zindagi nahiN guzar sakte. uske liya mustaqil mutalea or kaam karna parta hai. Baqaeda mehnat karni parti hai."

There is no doubt that Nadeem's above-stated poetics have served him well in creating a body of work that is worthy of serious attention.

Sarfraz Abd also spoke about the poetry of Muqsit Nadeem.

Don Marquis believes that writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo. Muqsit Nadeem has dropped a new rose petal down the Grand Canyon and now waiting for the echo.

The second session of the program was dedicated to the Mushaera or recital of poetry, which is the crown of literature is poetry and end and aim according to W. Somerset Maugham.

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